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Curry Laksa

 

A bowl of curry laksa served alongside a small bowl of chile garlic sauce, curry leaves, lime, garlic, ginger and shallots

 

 

Noodles tossed in a yellow curry laksa broth with chicken, tofu puffs, bean sprouts and fish balls

 

 

Story goes that when Chinese immigrants settled in Malaysia, they married locals who learned to cook Chinese recipes but put their own twist on them by using local ingredients.  Hence, Peranakan cuisine (aka Nyonna cuisine) was born and still remains a delicious staple in Malaysia today.

One of the more famous Peranakan concoctions is laksa-a brothy noodle soup flavored with South East Asia ingredients like galangal, lemongrass and tamarind.  Here in Malaysia, there are many different kinds of laksa-curry: laksa with its coconut milk rick broth, asam laksa made with mackerel and tamarind, sarawak laksa with its spicy red broth, and all the other variations in between.

As for me, my favorite laksa du jour is the curry kind.  It’s got everything I love-Chinese style noodles in a tasty broth, Indian spices like cumin and coriander and of course, the tropical flavors of Malaysia such as lemongrass, tamarind, and coconut milk.  It’s as diverse as the country itself and together forms a beautiful bowl of food.

I love diving into a big bowl of chewy noodles, tender pieces of chicken and bouncy fish balls all covered in a smooth coconut curry broth.  Top it off with some light and airy tofu puffs and crunchy bean sprouts and I’m good to go.

 

An orange rectangular package of Belacan shrimp paste
For this recipe, you’re going to need Belacan shrimp paste. A little goes a long way, so be careful when adding it to the recipe. If you’re a fan, go ahead and heap it on but for everyone else, limit yourself to 2 tsp of shrimp paste.

 

 

Lemongrass crushed and split down the middle
To get the most flavor out of lemon grass, make sure to cut off the tough bulb at the base, remove 1-2 tough outer layers and the upper third of the stalk where it turns green and no longer white. Bruise it with the flat part of your knife or the bottom of a heavy mug. Then cut into pieces no longer than 1 in/ 2 cm long.

 

Chopped lemongrass, candlenuts, shallots, belacan paste and tamarind puree in a food processor
Using a mortar and pestle or food processor, combine ginger, shallots, garlic, shrimp paste, red chiles, turmeric powder, lemongrass, tamarind puree, ground coriander, ground cumin, candlenuts, sugar, sea salt and cooking oil.

 

Pureed yellow laksa paste in a food processor with a rubber spatula
Puree together until a paste has formed.

 

Golden curry laksa paste frying in a wok
In a large wok, cook paste over high heat until fragrant.

 

 

Yellow curry laksa paste and chicken broth cooking together in a large wok
Once fragrant, add chicken stock.  Bring to a boil.

 

Laksa paste, chicken broth and coconut milk cooking in a wok with a handful of green curry leaves on top
Add a handful of curry leaves (about one strand’s worth) and coconut milk.  Stir and bring to a boil. If you are like me and love coconut milk and creamier soups, than feel free to add an additional cup of coconut milk to the soup.

 

 

Bundles of uncooked white Chinese alkaline noodles in a white bowl
You can use any kind of noodle you prefer for this soup but I prefer to stay close to its Peranaken roots by using Chinese noodles, preferably Emperor Noodles (aka Chinese Alkaline Water Noodles) simply because they hold up nicely with the strong curry flavors. For more information and recipes on how to make them, go here.

 

 

Creamy curry laksa broth cooking in a wok with curry leaves, chicken breasts and fish balls
Add thinly sliced chicken breasts and fish balls.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until meat it cooked (about 5-7 minutes).

 

 

Curry laksa cooking in a wok with fish balls and tofu puffs
Add tofu puffs to laksa broth, stir and let cook in the simmering sauce for a 1-2 minutes.

 

 

A mound of cooked Chinese noodles in a white bowl
For assembly, place noodles at the bottom of bowl.

 

Curry laksa served over noodles with chicken, fish balls, tofu puffs and curry leaves
Ladle soup over noodles.

 

A pile of fresh bean sprouts topping a big bowl of curry laksa
Top with fresh bean sprouts then serve with lime wedges and sambal on the side.

 

 

Print

Curry Laksa


  • Author: Spicepaw
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 1x

Description

Noodle soup with tender pieces of chicken, fish balls and tofu puffs served in a spicy coconut curry broth. A Malaysian classic! #soup #curry #noodles #laksa #spicy


Scale

Ingredients

Laksa Paste

  • 67 cm (a little under 3 in~about the length of a thumb) of ginger or galangal (peeled and roughly chopped)
  • 3 shallots
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tsp of Belacan shrimp paste
  • 35 dried red chiles (depends on how hot you want it)
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 23 stalks of lemongrass
  • 1 tsp tamarind puree
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 23 candlenuts or macadamia nuts (optional)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil

Curry Laksa soup

  • 4 cups (a little under a liter) chicken broth
  • 1 cup (240 ml) coconut milk
  • a handful of curry leaves (optional)
  • 2 chicken breasts (sliced thinly)
  • 1216 fish balls or medium sized shrimp
  • bean sprouts (for garnish)
  • 810 tofu puffs
  • 200 g -300 g (7 oz10.5 oz) Chinese noodles or rice vermicelli (whichever you prefer)

Instructions

  • Using a mortar and pestle or food processor, combine ginger, shallots, garlic, shrimp paste, red chiles, turmeric powder, lemongrass, tamarind puree, ground coriander, ground cumin, candlenuts, sugar, sea salt and cooking oil.  Puree together until a paste has formed.
  • In a large wok or pot, cook paste over high heat until fragrant.
  • Once fragrant, add chicken stock.  Bring to a boil.
  • Add a handful of curry leaves (about one strand’s worth) and coconut milk.  Stir and bring to a boil.
  • Add thinly sliced chicken breasts and fish balls.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until meat it cooked (about 5-7 minutes).
  • Meanwhile, cook noodles according to directions and drain.
  • Add tofu puffs to laksa broth, stir and let cook in the simmering sauce for a 1-2 minutes, then turn off heat.
  • For assembly, place noodles at the bottom of bowl.
  • Ladle soup over noodles.
  • Top with fresh bean sprouts then serve with lime wedges and sambal on the side.

Notes

For a creamier soup, add an additional cup of coconut milk to the soup.

  • Category: Main, Soup, Noodles
  • Method: Simmer
  • Cuisine: Malaysian, Asian

Keywords: laksa, curry, noodles, soup, Asian, Malaysian

Yum

 

 

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